The major risks for tooth loss are cavities and gum disease that may increase with age because of problems with saliva production; receding gums that expose “softer” root surfaces to decay-causing bacteria; or difficulties flossing and brushing because of poor vision, cognitive problems, chronic disease, and physical limitations.
There are many oral health problems that can affect adults. Some common problems include:
- Cavities: Cavities, also known as dental caries, are caused by bacteria in the mouth that produce acid that erodes the enamel on teeth. Cavities can be painful and can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
- Gum disease: Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth. It is caused by bacteria in plaque that builds up on the teeth and gums. Gum disease can cause teeth to become loose and fall out, and it has been linked to other health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
- Dry mouth: Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition in which the mouth does not produce enough saliva. This can lead to problems with swallowing, speaking, and tasting, and can also increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Tooth loss: Tooth loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including cavities, gum disease, and trauma. Losing teeth can affect an individual's ability to chew and speak, and may also affect their appearance.
It is important to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing regularly, to help prevent these and other oral health problems. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can also help identify and address potential problems early on.